Any runner can tell you that the sport is more than just training your stamina and strengthening muscles. Much like any other discipline, it’s a mental activity – and perhaps even more so than experts once thought.
For example, long-distance runners will often have to cope with muscular discomfort or foot pain, relying on focused breathing and other techniques to keep their minds calm. Likewise, detecting and stopping mental burnout will do wonders toward preventing injury.
But one of the major external factors that can influence how a runner performs is one that may just surprise you.
The Daily Life Of A Runner
Exactly how athletes structure their day depends on the degree of importance running takes in their lives; casual exercisers might not give much thought to their performance beyond, but professionals typically have higher expectations and more rigid schedules and routines.
These athletes often follow meticulous training regimens that include working out multiple times per day, often featuring exercises that target endurance, sprints, flexibility, and strength training. Proper nutrition follows, as well as working rest and recovery into the mix with massages, ice baths, and daily stretching, too.
But in the same way that physical improvement is essential to good performance, so too is mental health. There’s compelling evidence showing a positive relationship between mental health and running. In fact, running can even impact us long after the event is over, leading to a phenomenon that some call the “post-race blues,” especially for those whose participation involves higher stakes – such as at the professional level.
Online Gambling: Another Layer Of Awareness
You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t placed some kind of wager in the last year or two. Such has always been the case in the history of society, but with the prevalence of European betting sites on BettingNonGamStop in the last few years, that percentage has only gone up.
It’s not hard to understand why, though – we’re practically hardwired to fall in love with it as it takes little effort to receive a big hit of dopamine that encourages us to play more and get another measure.
But the coin of psychology and online gambling’s overall impact has another side to it: Consider the athletes.
Ways That Online Gambling Can Affect Runner Performance
It’s by no means a secret to professional athletes that many of their fans gamble on their teams and even their own individual performance, and quite often there are large sums of money riding on these outcomes.
Runners who aren’t used to these circumstances can find themselves feeling a heightened sense of responsibility – as well as a stronger fear of letting their fans and coaches down. They might also react poorly to the idea of online gambling, feeling upset or exploited for others’ financial gain.
Whatever the reaction, these athletes can find themselves burdened with a greater degree of stress and pressure unlike what runners in the past have experienced. When this worry builds up too much, mental health and performance both falter.
How Runners Can Mitigate Negative Impact
What makes a runner “mentally tough”? What are you supposed to do or avoid? Unfortunately, sports psychologists don’t have clear-cut responses to those questions just yet – and much of that has to do with our understanding of the concept of mental toughness and durability.
To some, this can indicate the ability to shrug off any difficult scenario, for which having a range of coping mechanisms will certainly help. To others, it may include having the creativity to turn those circumstances around to their advantage.
Regardless of the answer, it’s clear that runners must self-regulate in order to persevere and focus on the right goals. To do that, they can employ a number of different strategies.
-Mental strategies – A mantra, or a war cry, can reinforce resolve belief in yourself and allow a sense of calm to take over. This form of self-talk is also a great way to remind yourself of your goals and what to focus on.
-Training and preparation – Speaking of goals, make sure to actually set and work towards them. More than improving technique, goals serve as a way to enhance mental acuity and resolve.
-Social support – Few better ways to keep your eyes on the prize exist than having friends on the same page. Joining running groups and relying on your coaches are ideal ways to find others who can relate to and talk out any worries.
-Physical support – Having the right shoes wipes away the concern that you might injure yourself using improper gear.
-Professional help – In the same vein as maintaining physical and social support, keeping in touch with a nutritionist ensures you’re taking the best possible care of yourself, while a sports psychologist can tackle matters that are too complex for a coach to handle.